Toward Trauma-Informed Design of Behavioral Interventions: A Case Study on Classroom Management

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European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Trauma theory can complement behavior change theory in the design of digital interventions by providing different insights into the social and contextual factors that influence a person’s behavior. Two thirds of the population in the U.S. and Europe have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives, and trauma can have lasting effects on an individual’s functioning and behavior. A trauma-informed approach to design recognizes the prevalence of trauma and considers its potential effects on an individual, to shape interactions that more effectively meet their needs. To illustrate how trauma- informed design can enhance a human-centered design process, I present a case study of a long-term project that resulted in the deployment of multiple digital technologies for classroom management. Through a retrospective needs assessment drawing on trauma theory and trauma-informed practices, I identify new possibilities for intervention by reframing children’s behaviors, shifting the focus of intervention to their environment, and addressing structural inequity.